June, 2009

Random Copenhagen

June 9th, 2009

On our last days in Copenhagen we had two days where nothing was open, because on Friday it was a holiday and on Sunday, well, in Europe, Sunday is Sunday.


We did manage another visit to Illums Bolighus – above is a pic of the inside – four stories of design filled goodness.

More food pics for Val:


One night we had Danish food – John had some hamburger-like steak with a fried egg on top and I had the plaice.


Many fancier restaurants in Denmark have these brunch plates, which I like to call “greatest hits breakfasts”. At $30CDN, it’s crazy pricey, but a regular breakfast is $20 so worth it at least once. A soft boiled egg, bacon, sausage, hash brown, smoked salmon, quinoa/cabbage with shrimp, cheese, fruit, yogurt with berries and maple syrup and a brownie. Perfect.

Architectural wanderings:


At one point we attempted to take the subway but couldn’t because we didn’t have any change and there was no ticket person. Copenhagen’s metro system opened only 7 years ago so it’s pretty mod.


Skuespil huset – a concert theatre on the water. There are quite a number of amazing modern culture houses along the waterfront. We kind of stumbled across this one…



Inside Skuespil huset. They had these crazy hangling lights everywhere.


On our last day, we ventured over to Christiania, a hippy commune. Twice now I have gone over to a place called Christianshavn thinking I was in the right place, only to be confused as the area that is Christianshavn is pretty normal. I finally looked on a map and realized the Freetown hippie commune is actually called Christiania and it’s located in a corner of Christianshavn. You can’t take photos in the main area where there are a few cafes and a marketplace because of some activity that is legal but illegal.

According to Wikipedia, it’s a “self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (85 acres).”


Signage at an entrance at the back end.


Basically in the 1960s, a bunch of hippies took over an area of abandoned army barracks. There is an organic cafe, and even a building centre (since a lot of the structures seem to be pretty diy).


But once you get past that there is an idyllic path around water that has modern cottages, ramshackle homes, plywood structures, teepees…





Grass roof!

After Christiania, we headed on over to the Crown of Scandinavia, to embark on the next part of our journey…Norway. The best way to get from Copenhagen to Oslo is by DFDS cruise ships. It’s an overnight journey, with dining, entertainment, bars etc and it only costs about $70 per person – one nights accomodation and travel!


I had to snap this shot because Scandinavians sure do love hot dogs, so much so there is even a stand on the ship!

See you in Oslo!

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Juli sighting in Copenhagen!

June 8th, 2009

Do you ever wonder who those people are in photo frames?

The other day John and I went to the big department store Magasin to check out their housewares department, only to find design classics galore and basically anything you’d find at Illums Bolinghus. I mean, imagine going to The Bay or Sears and being able to buy locally made designs like Royal Copenhagen, Iitala, Poul Henningsen, Arne Jacobsen, Georg Jensen etc. But I digress. The reason for this post is not that, but this:


We stumbled across an Umbra frame section (right side of above picture) and lo and behold, there I was. Last winter I worked in the Umbra photo studios and provided subject matter for some face papers.


And now Danish people are buying photo frames with my mug in it.



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Thrifting Find! PH lights.

June 7th, 2009


PH 5 lights for about $200 each!

The thrifting here isn’t exactly what we had in mind. We had envisioned store after store of mid-century modern for next to nothing (and sugar plum fairies dancing in the streets). Not so much. Actually, we only came across a couple of kind of sort of affordable mid-century modern shops, otherwise, they are selling it at a premium, or not at all. Oh and it’s not like they have tons of different things on offer here either. Actually, I feel like Rogue Gallery in Toronto has a more diverse and extensive collection of Scandinavian artifacts than they do here!

The one thing they have plenty of is Poul Henningsen lighting. Maybe it’s because it’s in virtually everyone’s home, but you can find the PH lights in many shops.


We picked up these two PH 4 lights for $90 a piece! These things go for $500 minimum on ebay. We came to Copenhagen with the hopes of buying them at a lesser price and we are definitely happy with what we found. Now we just have to get them home without damaging them!

(I’ll have to update later with a store name and location).

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An evening with Arne Jacobsen

June 6th, 2009


On Wednesday we had a date at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel designed in 1960 by the great Arne Jacobsen.


Before the trip I tried to make an online reservation at the Scandinavian fusion restaurant Alberto K, located on the top floor of the Royal Hotel, but it was completely booked. When we went to visit the hotel, we asked if they had a table available and thanks to the recession there was.


The view of Copenhagen from our table, all the roof tops are orange and green (which would of course be copper turned green by the elements).


Most of the serving ware was designed by Arne Jacobsen, right down to his famous cutlery for Georg Jensen.


The king crab dish was presented with a glass dome that they had filled with smoke, that we could see swirling around when they placed the plate before us. I never appreciated how important food presentation was, (not to mention that great smokey flavour) and it seemed like they did something interesting with every plate.



Deer with shaved truffle.


We shared a cheese plate, with garnishes such as orange rind and pickeled mini peaches (that tasted nothing like mini peaches – I have a feeling it may have been a language barrier thing).


This desert was presnted to us with bits of fruit that were frozen in dry ice.


Then we got another desert we weren’t expecting, which made us panic a bit, thinking they may have thought we ordered the 6 course meal instead of 4. This dinner blew the Copenhagen budget, but it was well worth it.


Photos of Suite 606 after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

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Live from Copenhagen!

June 5th, 2009


After a long tortured (think ridiculously small seats and screaming and kicking 3 year olds) flight on KLM via Amsterdam, we made it to Copenhagen. It’s taken us days to recover, but we’re finally getting into the swing of things. We’re hoping to cover our trip, when wifi is available, here on Kitka. So we hope you enjoy our journey!


We were a bit over ambitious our first night, so we headed over to Illums Bolighus, the department store of Scandinavian Design. Oh course, we were completely delirious at the time and I am surprised we didn’t knock anything over. We’re hoping it’s open today (Friday) as it’s a holiday and we need to spend some quality, and conscious, time there.



On the search for our first dinner in Copenhagen, we passed this picturesque park. One thing I love about Europe, is how people enjoy the parks. Maybe it’s because they mostly live in apartments (many without balconies) or maybe it’s because they tend to be so accessible (not a subway ride away like High Park) but a picnic in the park is definitely on the agenda.

On our first full day (Wednesday), we walked along a street just off the main shopping area, where we stumbled across a few decent “antik” shops.


In the first shop there were a number of things that caught our eye:


Viking wood block print for about $75.


We really liked this candle stick holder.


Scandinavian girl painting.


Dala horse that was made in prison.


Norwegian rice, sugar etc canisters.


Cute little red chair.


Rag rugs.


Crazy stone horse head.


Tablecloth for a smaller coffee/tea drinking table.


John bought a Finel Kaj Franck heart tea cup set. Too bad we weren’t there earlier, when the owner’s son sold a few of these very same sets for about $5cdn.

More after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

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Sometimes I wish we could keep the pine floors…

June 4th, 2009


The No.5 house has made the internet rounds many times, but I thought it was somewhat relevant, and if you haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet you’re in for a real treat. The house was designed by the architect firm Claesson Koivisto Rune for a graphic designer and his family.

I almost forgot how much I liked this place until I came across it while flipping throught my “Scandinavian Homes” book. It’s probably one of the closest examples of what my dream house would look like. It’s also doing a good job showing how beautiful unfinished pine can look.


Now I need to remind myself. These pine floors are beautiful, clean, and are in perfect shape, which I can’t say is the same for the cottage.We also found out how hard it was to sweep dust with a wooden floor compared to a painted floor.


This house relies on the warmth of the wooden flooring to add a bit of coziness to an otherwise cold space. We have that great red cedar ceiling so having a bunch of different wood tones in our little cottage may look a bit busy. Especially considering we are indeed going ahead with the Fir plywood paneling.


I think we’ll stick with the white floors, they’re low maintenance and a great way to cover up all that wood filler we used to fill the infinitive amount of holes in our floor.

Hit the jump for more amazing pictures of this gorgeous house.

Read the rest of this entry »

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